October 15, 2018
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v2.1 Reference

The Art of Christian Reflection

Contemporary Christians interact with art very differently than Christians of centuries past. Christian art was never intended for mere enjoyment, but was used to express the most important features of Christian faith and to suggest models for Christian practices. In The Art of Christian Reflection, art historian Heidi Hornik reconnects art to ethics, beauty to behavior, and form to function in classical artwork. 

Over eighty different pieces of art—paintings, sculptures, and architecture—are the subject of Hornik's careful analysis and commentary, which highlights the ethical implications inherent to each work. Specifically, Hornik explores how art may foster Christian virtues like forgiveness, patience, and generosity. Hornik also discusses art's influence on moral issues like racism, prisons, violence, poverty, and environmentalism as well as historic Christian praxes like prayer, work, Bible study, and worship.

The Art of Christian Reflection paints the church's art as not only a courageous witness to the truth and reality of the gospel, but as an act of discipleship. It reveals the ethics of works not associated with the church but of value to contemporary Christians. Art can lead the faithful who reflect on it to become not only "hearers" and "seers" of the Word—but "doers" as well.

About the Author

Heidi J. Hornik is Professor of Art History at Baylor University.


"In this work, Heidi Hornik shows us how art can transform our sensitivities to contemporary moral issues and attune us to beauty and virtue that brings us closer to God. To walk with her through the visuals assembled here is to embark on what she aptly describes as a 'pilgrimage;' without doubt our journey will lead us far beyond the trifling."—Samuel E. Balentine, Professor of Old Testament and Director of Graduate Studies, Union Presbyterian Seminary

"This stunning book by Heidi Hornik is a rich resource for Christian reflection and action. The formal and iconographic analyses of eighty carefully-chosen works of visual art are skillfully integrated with interpretations of biblical texts, important Christian habits and virtues, contemporary moral issues, and formative and liturgical practices of the church. These discussions begin with explorations of what these works of visual art mean, how they are crafted, and how they dialogue with biblical texts and other Christian contexts. But the true focus and most enduring aspects of Hornik's book are the enlightening insights about what these works of visual art want from us, how they challenge us to respond in our daily lives as Christians."—David B. Gowler, The Dr. Lovick Pierce and Bishop George F. Pierce Chair of Religion, Oxford College of Emory University

"Heidi Hornik's book is remarkable. Both a respected scholar of Renaissance art history and an avowed Christian, she uses her historical understanding to illuminate great works of art and her religious perspective to bring these works to bear on moral, ethical, and devotional issues facing contemporary people of faith. The book is at once accessible to the layperson—both religious and art historical—and fully grounded in scholarship, and its structure allows for brief-but-focused meditations on the beautiful objects chosen, the questions they raise, and even the answers they may provide."—James Clifton, Director, Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation, and Curator, Renaissance and Baroque Painting, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

9781481304269 : the-art-of-christian-reflection-hornik
October 15, 2018
$49.95 USD

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